PowerMac G4 MDD upgrade!

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by mvkVirtual, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. mvkVirtual macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    #1
    So I just would like to know how I can improve the speed of my PowerMac :D I bought this awesome package for £100 on eBay, including all peripherals. A graphics upgrade is top priority as I want to play video and games online smoother, and upgrade anything else for a generally better experience!

    Specs:
    Dual 867mhz G4 (do not want to upgrade)
    2GB RAM (max :confused: )
    GeForce4 MX 32MB Graphics
    160GB IDE Hard drives (60GB + 100GB)
    DVDRW drive + Apple Combo Drive
    Wireless G PCI card
    4 port USB 2.0 PCI card
    Running 10.5.8 Leopard :cool:

    Peripherals:
    Formac Gallery 17" LCD
    Apple standard keyboard + standard mouse (pro style mouse, will probably upgrade to mighty mouse)
    Apple pro speakers (salvaged from my retired iMac G4)

    So the top priority is Graphics :cool: I am unsure which models I can get that will work on this mac. Please remember I live in the UK so do not point out websites in the US. Also I was thinking about a PCI SATA controller, how much of a speed boost will this give me if I buy a SATA hard drive? Only thing is, I do not have leopard install or restore disks so I assume I couldnt get leopard onto the new HDD. Thanks for your input! And please, point out any more upgrades that you think are worthwhile! :D

    EDIT: Just to add, I will be willing to upgrade the fans to make it cooler and quieter!
     
  2. max¥¥ macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    as for the graphics card i have a ati radon 9600 in my quicksilver g4 and that handles all the games i have, 2gb of ram is the max, you might want to look at cpu upgrades but these are expensive
     
  3. mvkVirtual thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 11, 2009
    #3
    How much was the 9600, and does it have to be a mac specific model ?
     
  4. max¥¥ macrumors 6502a

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    #4
  5. mvkVirtual thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
  6. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601

    OrangeSVTguy

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    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    Northeastern Ohio
    #6
    Silent fans and a dual 1.25ghz CPU upgrade. Graphics card is easy, find a cheap PC ATI 9800 Pro and flash it with a Mac rom. Best bang for buck graphics card for the G4 Macs.
     
  7. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Poland
    #7
    ^To take full advantage of 1.25 CPU upgrade, OP will have to do some soldering job. 867 has 133 bus and w/o little modding this card will work with 1.0 GHz clock (which is not that bad at all). He will need to OC system bus on logic board to 167 MHz and use PC2700 or 3200 RAM.
    Best 1.25 DP card would be 2MB L3 one, from original MDD (not FW800 - these had 1MB L3).

    OP, get R9800 like OrangeSVTguy did mention - it's way better than 9600, especially for gaming. Flashing is easy, you only got to buy right card. But if you want to speed up online flash games, it will be almost the same. It's CPU thing.
     
  8. max¥¥ macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    oh didn't know that, thought it would be like my quicksilver where you take the cpu out and put a new one in, and as for the graphics i recommended that card as i have one and it handles all the games i play fine, but i dont play any really cpu/gpu intensive games
     
  9. ThunderSnake macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #9
    Not only will a single SATA drive give you better performance, but a single large drive in MDD's will give you better airflow compared to several smaller IDE drives. You should be able to use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone your boot drive to a new SATA drive.

    If not already installed, the single most important thing that you can do to reduce temperature is installing CHUD. For a dual MDD running Leopard, you will want to download and install CHUD version 3.5.2. Then you will want to save this script and add it to your login items to enable nap mode automatically. Once you've done this, you don't even have to think about CHUD anymore.

    I agree with others that the Radeon 9800 is a really sweet card for these G4's. However, it does throw off some heat. On mine, I installed an extra fan between the CPU heatsink and the back case. I positioned it high enough that it will immediately vent heat generated by the Radeon, but it also helps pull cool air across the CPU heatsink. If I ever redo this, I'll use two smaller fans instead of one big one, but it works fine. I prefer this method over pci slot coolers because it works with, not against, the intended airflow design of the machine.

    Also, if you don't already have it, you should download and install Temperature Monitor and set it so it stays in your menu bar.

    FWIW, I'm typing this on a MDD dual 1.42 with a Radon 9800 Pro and CHUD nap mode enabled. On a second monitor plugged into the same Radeon card, I'm watching the original Star Wars fullscreen (I'm quite thrilled to have finally found a copy in which Han Solo shoots first). My CPU temp is currently 37.1C (25 degrees below the danger zone).

    You're smart to be thinking about cooling before you even get started with this. The cooler it runs, the longer it will last.
     
  10. Dave H macrumors 6502

    Dave H

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
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    California
    #10
    The CPU multiplier could be changed to match the bus speed also.
    There is a chart with jumper settings at http://bitsandpieces.info/Multipliers.htm
     
  11. mvkVirtual thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    #11
    Thanks for all the info everyone!

    Two FINAL questios though :eek:

    1) Which fans do you recommend to make this thing quieter but more importantly cooler?

    2) How do I go about flashing a 9800 card, and which ones in particular do I need to look out for?

    Thanks again :D
     
  12. ThunderSnake macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #12
    I've made recent fan upgrades based on these recommendations and have been pleased.

    For the main 120mm fan, I think the most important thing is to get a variable voltage fan and splice it into your existing fan wires so the speed can be controlled by the Mac. Even the best quality fan spinning at top speed all of the time will produce much more noise than is necessary. Further, once you install CHUD, the fan will very rarely (if ever) need to kick into full speed.

    For the PSU fans, you will want something with their own temperature speed regulator.

    Flashing:

    ATI buying guide
    ROMs
    Procedure

    Just a note: Although flashing your own card can be a "rite of passage" of sorts, it's worth mentioning that even people who do this frequently have about a one in six failure rate. Just so you know, there are a number of people on eBay who specialize in selling cards that have been modified for use in G4's.
     
  13. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    Poland
    #13
    Sure it could. But bus OC'ing is easier - only one resistor to remove - especially if you don't trust your soldering skills ;)
     
  14. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #14
    I'd rather go with the bus speed increase, as this also increases memory bandwidth. Make sure to use proper thermal compound on the CPUs (Clean the CPUs and the heatsink with Zippo Gasoline using tissue and Q-Tips. A dose half the size of a cooked rice grain per CPU is enough, spread it out with a toothpick and leave 0,25mm on the edges of the die uncovered, as the compound spreads out when you apply the heatsink. The Arctic Silver 5 is conductive because it contains silver, be careful not the shorten the components on the CPU. It's the best compound for high temperature applications, though). Clean the heatsink with compressed air to improve cooling.
    Besides, I'd put in a Seagate Momentus XT (500GB sold out, 320GB available) or WD VelociRaptor to max out the Ultra-ATA166.
    You'll need a SATA-2-PATA-Adapter for either drive. For the Momentus XT, you'll also need a 2.5" mounting bracket.
     
  15. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #15
    AS 5 is no the best thermal compound. It's good but it has one serious fault: it will lose performance about half a year and it'll need to be replaced.
    There are better ones (performance wise): both Coollaboratory Liquid Metal products (best of all) and IC Diamond Carat 7. I'd recommend IC because it's non conductive and could be used with aluminium heatsinks (in contrary to Liquid Metal).
     
  16. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #16
    AS5 is the best regular thermal compound over 50°C. Arctic Cooling MX-3 is better under 50°C, I used that for my air-cooled PowerMac CPU, as they were out of AS5. I red of reapplying every 2.5 years rather then 6 month, though.

    Then there is Liquid Metal, but this stuff burns into the Dies and you have heavy work to clean it up, if you even get it away. To not shorten anything, I'd use the Liquid Metal Pads, though. Also, we can't use them on our aluminum coolers anyways.

    Both IC and MX-3 are based on carbon microparticles, so get whatever is cheaper. It seems the the IC always gets compared to AS5, I didn't saw it anywhere in comparison to the MX-3.

    Anyhow, everything is better then that nasty black gasket Foxconn puts on the heatsinks. I just stated "proper", AS5 is not bad at all, and probably the best stuff you can get on NewEgg.
     
  17. aarons510 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    #17
    I think I definitely need to replace the thermal compound on my Dual 1.42 with copper heatsink. (When not running in NAP mode, the temperature can fairly quickly go up to 61 Celsius on a hot day. In NAP mode it stays under 50 C.)

    Anyway, I have at hand both Arctic Silver 5 and Arctic Cooling MX-2 (not MX-3). I would tend to prefer MX-2 over AS5 because it is non-conductive and non-capacitative, so I presumably don't have to worry about shorting out my CPU. Is there any reason to prefer AS5? Would there be any serious problem if I used AC MX-2 and the temperature went way over 50 Celsius?

    Also, how serious is the problem of instability on these machines when running in NAP mode? I have had one unexplained total freeze already, in about 30 hours of running in NAP mode.
     
  18. bizzle macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    #18
    My MDD desktop is the following:
    Dual 1.42ghz overclocked to 1.58ghz at stock voltage, I have no tried higher clocks yet, 300GB IDE 7200 RPM hard drive, 2GB RAM, FW800 logic board, had a Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB but I had to pull it to replace with a ADC capable Radeon 9000 Pro 64MB, USB 2.0 card, Firewire 400 card, Firewire 800 card, Airport Extreme, Bluetooth. Runs Leopard pretty decently, would probably fly in Tiger. Oddly enough, it benchmarks higher with the slower, non-Core Video supported video card. I believe my last result was 1432. It's running with a 22" ACD.

    Anyway, they are not bad machines, but not fast enough for me and I barely do anything on the computer (email, light web, AIM, iTunes). Don't sink too much money into an obsolete machine. Thankfully I obtained this machine out of almost all free parts, including the display.
     
  19. ThunderSnake macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #19
    On the same machine, but clocked at 1.5GHz, I'm using MX-2. I finally used the last of it (on a different machine) a few days ago, so I'll prolly get some MX-3 next. On the rare occasions that mine gets over 50C, it recovers quickly. I've never even approached the danger zone with MX-2.

    I find nap mode to be pretty stable with Leopard. What OS are you using?

    Another thing I like to do with MDD's in relation to cooling it to put a fan or two between the CPU heatsink and the back case. A couple of 60mm X 15mm will fit just fine. On one, I have a single 80mm X 15mm, but I had to cut away the fan's housing to make it fit. I prefer this to slot coolers because it works with, not against, the intended airflow design of the machine.
     
  20. aarons510 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    #20
    Extra fans - how and where?

    10.5.8
    1. Any specifics on mounting and wiring the fans?
    2. How about the idea of cutting away some of the plastic on back and/or mounting the extra fan(s) outside on the back? I have several extra cases that I don't have power supplies for, so I don't mind wrecking one.
     
  21. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
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    Poland
    #21
    You'll find some good ideas here: http://www.s155158671.websitehome.co.uk/aircoolingmddg4a.html
     
  22. ThunderSnake macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #22
    Yeah, I absolutely think you'd have some more options if you have a case or two to play with. Externally, you could mount another 120mm fan. I think if I were going this route, I'd get one with a manual control and just play with it until I found the sweet spot. Of course, it might need readjusting several times a year as seasons change.

    For smaller fans, if you can get reasonably quiet ones, I would just plug them into a molex connector and let them run at full speed. The idea is to keep the system cool enough that the Mac never orders the main fan into full noise/speed.

    However you mount them, some rubber washers or even some cushioned two-sided tape will help prevent vibrations from transferring to the case.

    Another option with 12 volt fans would be to splice them into the wires leading to the main fan, red to red and black to black, and let the Mac control their speed too. I don't know about doing this with a second full size 120mm fan, though. I've never tried that and I do not know how many amps the motherboard connector can support.

    Regarding nap mode, I'm not sure what can be gleaned from a single seemingly random freeze over a 30 hour period, but if it continues, do post about it--Especially if you think you're seeing a pattern. It's likely that someone will have an answer for you and the information you post could be helpful to others.

    That's a great link posted by 666sheep.
     
  23. raysfan81 macrumors 6502a

    raysfan81

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #23
    I've had my dual 1.42 ghz MDD running in NAP mode for almost 3 months and haven't had any problems. I also picked up a pre-flashed Radeon 9800 pro off of ebay for around $35 and I may need to add some extra fans because I understand they produce quite a bit of heat. I would probably go with the internal fans because it looks better than one on the outside IMO.
     
  24. bizzle macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #24
    None of you should be worked up over temps hitting 60 degrees Celsius. I ran a Dual 1ghz MDD with 4 hard drives and a 9800 Pro with only the stock fans for a year. You'd feel the heat hit you in the face when you opened the case with it running. Even at idle it would hit 58c and higher with load. That processor still works to this day.
     
  25. raysfan81 macrumors 6502a

    raysfan81

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    Location:
    North Carolina
    #25
    I'm pretty sure that the dual 1.42 runs hotter than the dual 1.0. That is probably why Apple put a different copper heatsink on the 1.42. I'm not positive though.
     

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